Penny Livingston-Stark: Ecoliteracy, Permaculture, and Regenerative Design [Ep. 127]

If you only have two minutes, click here for a highlight from the interview.


Penny Livingston-Stark is internationally recognized as a prominent permaculture teacher, designer, and speaker. She holds a MS in Eco-Social Regeneration and 3 Diplomas in Permaculture Design. She has studied, taught with, hosted and learned directly from Bill Mollison, and David Holmgren the co-founders of Permaculture and the developers of the Permaculture Design Certification Course curriculum.

Penny has been teaching internationally and working professionally in the land management, regenerative design, and permaculture development field for 25 years and has extensive experience in all phases of ecologically sound design and construction as well as the use of natural non-toxic building materials. She specializes in site planning and the design of resource-rich landscapes integrating, rainwater collection, edible and medicinal planting, spring development, pond and water systems, habitat development and watershed restoration for homes, co-housing communities, businesses, and diverse yield perennial farms. She as taught Herbal Medicine Making, Natural Building and Permaculture around the US as well as Bali, Indonesia, Peru, Germany, Mexico, France, Turkey, Portugal, Australia, Belize, Brazil, England and Costa Rica.

With her husband James Stark, and in collaboration with Commonweal — a cancer health research and retreat center — Penny co-manages Commonweal Garden, a 17-acre organic and certified salmon-safe farm in Bolinas, California.

Penny co-created the Ecological Design Program and its curriculum at the San Francisco Institute of Architecture, co-created the Permaculture Program at Occidental Arts and Ecology Center with Brock Dolman, co-created the Earth Activist Training with Starhawk and she co-founded the West Marin Grower’s Group, the West Marin Farmer’s Market, and the Community Land Trust Association of Marin. Penny has also worked with the Marin County Community Development Agency and Planning Department to develop recommendations on sustainability for updating the Community Plan.

Penny is a founding member of the Natural Building Colloquium, a national consortium of professional natural builders, creating innovations in straw bale, cob, timberframe, light clay, natural non-toxic interior finishes and other methods using natural and bio-regionally appropriate materials for construction.

She has been featured in the following films: Symphony of the Soil by Lily Films and Deborah Koons Garcia, 2012: A Time for Change by Joao Amorim and Daniel Pinchbeck and Permaculture: The Growing Edge by Belili Films and Starhawk.  Contact Penny at penny@regenerativedesign.org.

penny-livingston-stark-web.jpg

Some highlights from Kevin Bayuk’s interview with Penny Livingston-Stark include: 

  • A glimpse into the early days of permaculture in the US and common misconceptions about permaculture

  • The importance of ecological literacy and appreciating design considerations such as “embodied energy” of system inputs

  • Appreciating bird song and other gifts of our nonhuman neighbors

  • How dairy and cattle ranching is stigmatized but how it can in fact be a powerful driver of ecological regeneration if managed to optimize for soil health

  • The importance of supporting your local herbalists

 

Resources:

Permaculture

Ecoliteracy

Regenerative Design Institute

Tom Ward

Rick Valley

Bill Mollison

Ianto Evans

John Todd

Lost Valley Education & Event Center

Jude Hobbs

The Ecology of Commerce

Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution

Constructed Wetland

Sacred Economics

Embodied Energy

David Holmgren

 

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LIFT Economy is an impact consulting firm whose mission is to create, model, and share a locally self-reliant economy that works for the benefit of all life.

 

Andrew Baskin, Partner & Executive Producer at LIFT Economy, specializes in regenerative ag-related enterprise and impact investing that advances the health of our soil, food-system, and climate.  You can email Andrew at andrew@lifteconomy.com.

 

Kevin Bayuk, Co-founder and Partner at LIFT Economy, works at the intersection of ecology and economy where permaculture design meets next economy organizations intent on meeting human needs while enhancing the conditions conducive to all life. He is the Senior Financial Fellow at Project Drawdown and a founding partner of the Urban Permaculture Institute.  You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinbayuk or email him kevin@lifteconomy.com.